For many, the return of 100-degree temperatures and departure of snowbirds signal the start of summer. But for those in the know, it is not summer until staycations get booked, especially as it relates to the tourism industry’s bottom line. Here are the inside tips from Arizona resorts on how to make the most of staycation season in the Arizona sun while supporting the local hospitality sector.
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
Adventure awaits around every corner at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess each summer, and always in a new and different way. This year, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the resort will transform into something everyone will dig, literally. First, there is the Legend of The Lost Temple, a resort adventure of epic proportions where intrepid archaeologist “Sonoran Smith”, and his protégé “Sam” seek to beat a band of mercenary fortune seekers looting an ancient lost (fictional) Arizonan temple. There will be a special kid’s check-in where each child is outfitted with a brown fedora and mission assignment to find The Lost Temple, along with a meet and greet with Smith and other characters. To fit the theme, the Trailblazer’s Kid’s Club will become Destination Dig, where children 5 to 12 can hunt for dinosaur excavations, mummy wrapping and ancient relics. That is just the tip of the iceberg as there will also be weekly firework shows, dive-in movies, welcome gifts, laser tag, zip line, rock wall and much more. For those looking to experience it all, book the Summer Adventure Package, which comes with a $150 daily resort credit, preferred restaurant reservations and a donation benefitting the local Boys & Girls Clubs.
Gila River Resorts & Casinos – Wild Horse Pass
By now, many residents know about the $180 million expansion unveiled in January with new live table games, an 11-story tower with 205 new guest rooms, two new pools and a new rooftop restaurant in Prime, a Shula’s Steak House. But did you know the resort also now has a first-ever athlete partnership deal with Jae Crowder? The Phoenix Suns fan favorite is now the brand’s ambassador! Among his duties: hosting summer pool parties as soon as the NBA Playoffs are complete. Each pool party will be on the last Saturday of the month at the new Oasis Pool. Additionally, on Memorial Day Weekend, the resort will open its Top Golf Swing Suite, the first-ever swing suite in a casino with bays, table-top games, a bar and full view of the casino floor.
Talking Stick Resort
Talking Stick Resort’s wildly popular Playcation package returns for the summer. Now through Sept. 11, the package includes rates beginning at $139 Sunday through Thursday and $159 on Fridays and Saturdays as well as a $25 food and beverage credit. The resort fee is waived with an Arizona ID. Above and beyond this, guests get a discount at surrounding entertainment venues in the surrounding Talking Stick Entertainment District. Among the deals include discounts at Octane Raceway, Butterfly Wonderland, Velocity VR, Medieval Times, Ripley’s Believe It or Not and more. Fun fact: all of the executive king rooms are strategically positioned on the north and south ends of the hotel with an oversized private balcony with views of either Camelback Mountain or Scottsdale’s McDowell Mountains. Stepping it up a notch, there are also 1,500-square-foot that boasts an integrated television in the footboard in addition to living room, wet bar and two bathrooms.
The resort is offering a Hot Dates, Cool Rates deal now through September 1 offering as much as 15% off. But, outside of any deal, locals know how to do it right when booking The Sanctuary during summertime. How? By getting friends and booking one of the seven Villas at Sanctuary. Each an architectural wonder, the bucket list accommodations occupy more than an acre of land each and feature amenities ranging from private pools and Jacuzzis to wrap-around terraces and home theaters. Insiders also know to visit celebrity mixologist Christiaan Röllich – one-time a body double for Brad Pitt – no matter the room they are in for a spirited adventure in the heart of Paradise Valley.
Kimpton Hotel Palomar Phoenix
If you have never done a downtown Phoenix staycation, what are you waiting for? Outside of the deals offered, including the whopper that includes everything from welcome cocktails at the hotel’s lauded Blue Hound Kitchen to rates under $200 per night, Palomar is an urban oasis just steps from some of the hottest cultural tickets in town. Don’t want to leave the property? Thanks to an insane rooftop pool (hello, cabanas), Palomar hosts a complimentary organic tea and coffee service daily, social hour with wine at 5 p.m. nightly, free bikes and even in-room yoga mats.
Scottsdale’s newest boutique hotel – the first in downtown Scottsdale in 13 years – made headlines as much for its culinary offerings, which include celebrity chef Beau MacMillan’s Cala, as for its historic opening in recent months. And the restaurant is fabulous. But, if not taking advantage of everything the hotel has to offer, then you are doing it wrong. Right now, the hotel offers a Sip & Splash Package that includes a Sonora Swim Club view room, a sweet and salty snack amenity, a bottle of wine and poolside cocktails for four starting at $230 per night through Sept. 1. For those who love local history, there are also the Winfield Suites, which overlook the Entertainment District and are named in honor of Winfield Scott aka the “Scott” in Scottsdale, as well as a full homage to Don & Charlie’s, which used to sit where the hotel now does, complete with authentic memorabilia for a walk down memory lane.
The Hermosa Inn
This boutique hideaway set across six lushly landscaped acres is awash in magical moments. You just must know where to find them. To take advantage of them this summer, book a Summer in Paradise package online through September 1, which will get you 15% off plus a $25 food and beverage credit each night, welcome cocktails, poolside treats and one of just 43 luxury casitas on property. Then, let the exploration begin. Do not miss the return of dining in the hotel’s underground wine cellar, where temperatures are about 50 degrees cooler than outside. Also, be sure to take advantage of the new executive chef’s soon-to-be announced enhancements to the menu and ask the concierge about the secret tunnels that used to exist…and why (we won’t spoil the “why” for you).
Both The Phoenician and The Canyon Suites at The Phoenician will be offering their best rates of the year through Labor Day, most stay including with a nightly $50 resort credit. But most folks can figure that out with a quick Google search. Here is where you make it special. First, you ask for bartender Robert Porter while at Kalio Kabobery, which is the under-the-radar-awesome bar at the pool. A former winner of the Devour Phoenix Bartending Competition, Porter a true artist behind the bar, eager to blow your mind. Next, visit Mowry & Cotton for a meal or snack and order the Buttermilk Buns. Seems simple, right? The meal will take on new life when you hear the family story behind them from executive sous chef Rebecca Tillman. (There is also a craft beer tasting daily on property starting at 11 a.m. you should sneak in.) Oh, we are not done! Then, you must book a private dining experience at The Praying Monk, which is the semi-secret wine cellar on property that only seats up to 12 guests. It is so chilly, they have blankets on hand for guests despite the heat outside. Another way to “chill” is at The Marketplace in property, which offers a house-made gelato called the Phoenician Crunch with chocolate, Heath Toffee Bar chips and Grape-Nuts cereal, combined and folded into a vanilla gelato base. Finally, do not sleep on the Canyon Suites. The resort-inside-the-resort has one of the most epic Presidential Suite experiences in Arizona, an almost endlessly elegant and massive palace that overlooks the Valley in all of its majesty.
Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock
Of course, there is also Northern Arizona to enjoy all summer long as well. As this suite-focused resort at the southern tip of Sedona, all summer long there is live music outside as well star gazing and ample yard games morning to night. New this year, the resort is also offering “poppy hour” in addition to its lowest rates of the year, which features poolside daily popsicle treats. There are also family movie nights, s’mores and fire pits you can actually use given the moderate summer nights.
High Country Motor Lodge
Just a touch father north than Sedona, Flagstaff is also pulling out all the stops this summer. Notably, the newly opened High Country Motor Lodge has debuted. This will be the first summer guests can enjoy the hotly anticipated 123-room boutique hotel. It features a retro 1960s aesthetic yet has contemporary amenities as well as a decked-out game room, an expansive pool, a hot tub with two private saunas and The General Store, a grab-and-go eatery with craft beer and cocktails, artisan coffee and espresso and personal Pinsa-style pizza. Insider tip: book a cosmic cottage, a rustic-yet-elegant room category with mixtapes, nearby fire pit and ample access to the Dark Sky certified starry nights.